This paper presents an overview of the preparation and execution of the first two flights of the NASA X-43A scramjet flight test project. The project consisted of three flights, two planned for Mach 7 and one for Mach 10. The first flight, conducted on June 2, 2001, was unsuccessful and resulted in a nine-month mishap investigation. A two-year return to flight effort ensued and concluded when the second Mach 7 flight was successfully conducted on March 27, 2004. The challenges faced by the project team as they prepared the first ever scramjet-powered airplane for flight are presented. Modifications made to the second flight vehicle as a result of the first flight failure and the return to flight activities are discussed. Flight results and lessons learned are also presented.